By Emma Anousheh Azhan
Here in the U.S., we seem to have countless Special Days: National Hotdog Day, Cat Day, Girlfriend Day, the list goes on. It seems to be almost intrinsic to the American culture to celebrate anything and everything; and yet, of these countless holidays one in particular stands out to be especially impactful.
Earth Day was first celebrated on 22 April, 1970, over 50 years ago today. The holiday was pioneered by Junior Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, as a reaction to the increasingly alarming environmental deterioration that was being noticed for the first time. Since then, Earth Day has evolved to become an internationally celebrated holiday, promoted and advocated for by governments, educational bodies and corporations alike.
In the 17 Earth Days I have celebrated throughout my life, I have found that my understanding and appreciation of the holiday has grown with every passing year. In schools, both in Malaysia and in the U.S.., the day has served as a time of respect and appreciation for our planet, and this is what makes the holiday so uniquely important. From the very beginning of Earth Day’s conception, the celebration aimed to increase people’s understanding and connection to climate change; a mission that has continued to this day.
Every year, students across the globe gather to learn about the challenges that face our planet’s survival, and take part in activities to help better the situation.
This year, we will be celebrating Earth Day in Terra by having a special lesson! For our lesson this week we will be learning about the history of Earth Week, and have a discussion why we think it is important that we have a special day to celebrate our planet. We will also be diving into photosynthesis as it is pretty much the basis for so many of the ecosystems on Earth; and will be having a recycled materials arts and crafts project, so that we learn both about the science behind our wonderful planet, and take part in activities that can help us save it.
Earth Day is fantastic in its ability to unite people across ages, countries, beliefs and backgrounds in the effort to protect our planet. And yet, I do not believe that these efforts should start and stop on April 22nd. Every day we live, we rely on the planet.
Every breath we take, every sip of clean water, every bite of food, every piece of clothing, everything comes from Earth. Our planet is what gives us life, sustains our societies and carries us into the future; and this is something it does not only on April 22nd, but every day .
Thus, it is our responsibility to care for the Earth just as it cares for us: every day.
Earth Day is incredibly important and should be celebrated as a day to come together and advocate for the protection of our planet, but this advocacy should not end with the day. Our efforts to learn, promote and act conscientiously and compassionately towards Earth should be undertaken each and every day we wake up and use the resources our planet provides us.
Earth Day serves as a reminder of just how important our planet is. It is our duty as the residents of this planet to take care of all of its inhabitants and resources everyday, just as it takes care of us.
Terra has been the way I bring the values of Earth Day into every day of the year. By teaching the youth of our community, I hope to make sure that they grow up to be equally passionate and conscious of our planet. Through Terra, I hope I can continue to spread the importance of loving, learning about and taking care of our environment, especially as my program hopes to begin in person lessons in the next school year.
Earth Day symbolizes these goals of eco-education, and shares them with communities across the globe; and hopefully, one day soon, we all can treat every day like Earth Day.
Learn more about Terra here: https://emmaazhan.wixsite.com/terra